Coachella Valley groundwater levels show`significant increases’

“Groundwater levels throughout most of the Coachella Valley have increased significantly over the past decade, according to an annual analysis released today by the local water district.

The Coachella Valley Water District submitted two annual reports for the 2017-18 water year to the California Department of Water Resources, one on the Indio Subbasin and the other on the Mission Creek Subbasin, which make up most of the valley’s aquifer. … ”

Read more from Channel 3 here:  Coachella Valley groundwater levels show`significant increases’

The drought’s over? Sure. But our hydrological bank account is still drained, says the LA Times

They write,

“California had a wet November, a moist December, an absolutely drenched January and February, and so far a fairly watery March. Los Angeles exceeded its average annual rainfall a month ago, less than halfway into the “water year” (which runs from October through the following September). The Sierra snowpack is at more than 150% of average. The state is soaked.

So how come the U.S. Drought Monitor waited until Wednesday to declare California drought free for the first time in seven years? Hasn’t he been paying attention? And who is that guy, anyway? … ”

Read more from the LA Times here:  The drought’s over? Sure. But our hydrological bank account is still drained

Report says Napa County’s 2018 groundwater levels stable

“Napa Valley’s annual groundwater checkup concluded that water levels in a majority of monitoring wells were stable in spring 2018, despite a drop in overall groundwater storage following a subpar rainy season.

The valley’s vast underground reservoir that farmers tap to irrigate the region’s world-famous vineyards held an estimated 210,000 acre-feet of water. That’s about seven times as much water contained in a full Lake Hennessey. … ”

Read more from the Napa Register here: Report says Napa County’s 2018 groundwater levels stable

Livermore: Wet winter helps replenish groundwater supplies

“With our streams and rivers running fast and high and all the snow piling up in the High Sierra, it certainly looks like California is well out of the drought, but what about beneath the surface?

“Right now our basin, fortunately, is at 98 percent full,” said Carol Mahoney, Manager of Integrated Water Services for Zone 7, the water supply and flood control agency that serves Livermore and the Amador Valley. … ”

Read more from KGO here:  Wet winter helps replenish groundwater supplies

Bill Patzert says not so fast with declaring drought over; groundwater recovery could take years

“We’re having one of the best rainfall seasons in years, with drought conditions easing for much of the state.  But one of the nation’s leading oceanographers says there’s much more involved before the impacts of the drought are completely gone, and that it could take years to replenish groundwater supplies.

Former NASA oceanographer Dr. Bill Patzert says while we had the possibility of El Nino conditions going into the rainfall season, which could have magnified rain amounts, it didn’t happen. Patzert says El Nino was “El No-Show”. … ”

Read more from KCLU here:  Patzert says not so fast with declaring drought over; groundwater recovery could take years

ASU scientists using latest space technology to assess the health of a large aquifer system in California’s San Joaquin Valley

“A team of Arizona State University scientists has been using the latest space technology, combined with ground measurements, to assess the health of one of the nation’s most important sources of underground water, a large aquifer system located in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

The team, comprised of School of Earth and Space Exploration researchers Chandrakanta Ojha, Susanna Werth and Manoochehr Shirzaei, focused on the San Joaquin Valley’s most recent drought period, from 2012 to 2015, measuring both groundwater loss and aquifer storage loss. The results of their findings have been recently published in the Journal of Geophysical Research. … ”

Read more from Arizona State University here:  ASU scientists using latest space technology to assess the health of a large aquifer system in California’s San Joaquin Valley

In this water-starved California town, one citrus farmer is trying to hang on

From the Desert Sun:

“Citrus groves spread out in rows across the desert in Borrego Springs, forming a lush green oasis against a backdrop of bone-dry mountains. When the grapefruit and lemon trees bloom on Jim Seley’s farm, the white blossoms fill the air with their sweet scent.  His father founded the farm in 1957, and Seley has been farming here since 1964. He and his son, Mike, manage the business, and they hope to pass it on to the next generation of Seleys.

But the farms of Borrego Springs, like the town and its golf courses, rely completely on groundwater pumped from the desert aquifer. And it’s unclear whether farming will be able to survive in this part of the Southern California desert west of the Salton Sea in San Diego County. … ”

Read more from the Desert Sun here:  In this water-starved California town, one citrus farmer is trying to hang on

Butte County: Helicopter survey should aid groundwater planning

From the Oroville Mercury Register:

“Butte County may soon have a better idea of what lies beneath its surface, thanks in part to the Kingdom of Denmark.  Starting in late November, a helicopter took off for several days from the Orland airport to fly a pattern over an area between Chico and Orland, and southeast into Butte Valley.  Dangling beneath the helicopter was a hoop loaded with devices that created a weak magnetic field and instruments that measured how that interacted with layers beneath the soil.

Christina Buck with the Butte County Department of Water and Resource Conservation explained that underground there are layers of sands and gravels that hold water, divided by layers of clay and silt that block water passage to different degrees. … ”

Read more from the Oroville Mercury-Register here:  Butte County: Helicopter survey should aid groundwater planning

As California’s Groundwater Free-for-All Ends, Gauging What’s Left

From Water in the West:

“Most areas of California farm country have a significant lack of information about their groundwater use. The water managers responsible for putting California’s depleted aquifers on the path to sustainability now need to get the data to do the job. Running the new agencies created under the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, these managers must first decide what they need to know, and how to get the information.

The measuring gauges they need would ideally give two different views of groundwater reality. First, account for withdrawals by identifying who is taking the water, then control the withdrawals to ensure sustainability, now required in 109 of the state’s 517 groundwater basins. Second, monitor the overall health of the aquifer to ensure it is not trespassing over the various boundaries of unsustainability now carved into state law. … “

To read this article, click here:  As California’s Groundwater Free-for-All Ends, Gauging What’s Left

Study uses seismic noise to track water levels in underground aquifers

From the Harvard Gazette:

“Seismic noise — the low-level vibrations caused by everything from subway trains to waves crashing on the beach — is most often something seismologists work to avoid. They factor it out of models and create algorithms aimed at eliminating it so they can identify the signals of earthquakes.

But Tim Clements thinks it might be a tool to monitor one of the most precious resources in the world — water.  A graduate student working in the lab of Assistant Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences Marine Denolle, Clements is the lead author of a recent study that used seismic noise to measure the size and water levels in underground aquifers in California. … ”

Read more from The Harvard Gazette here:  Study uses seismic noise to track water levels in underground aquifers